Loki and Sylvie’s Relationship Is About Forgiveness, According to ‘Loki’ Writer Michael Waldron
Marvel’s Loki marks many firsts for the franchise’s trickster — including the first time he’s ever received a love interest. Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) relationship with Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) plays a central role in the story, and Marvel fans have been quick to speculate on what it could mean. After all, it’s no coincidence that Loki would fall for another version of himself. Many attribute this to the character’s narcissistic qualities, but series writer Michael Waldron believes the Loki and Sylvie romance runs deeper than that.
The ‘Loki’ romance offers its title character a ‘mirror of himself’
For Waldron, part of what makes the Loki and Sylvie romance so intriguing is that it gives the trickster an opportunity to see himself more clearly. Speaking to Collider, the writer pointed out that Marvel’s trickster rarely looks inward for answers. However, Sylvie presents an outer view of his strengths and flaws.
“He is just a character who doesn’t like to self-reflect, and would rather pontificate, and would rather scheme, because he’s good at it, because he’s very clever,” Waldron explained. “And when faced with an actual mirror of himself, he sees things that are attractive and that he empathizes with. He also sees things that are broken and wounded, and it helps him understand those very things in his own psyche.”
Seeing his flaws writ large like that offers Loki a chance to change the narrative. He experiences something similar when faced with all of the Loki variants introduced in Episode 5. However, what makes the Loki and Sylvie relationship special is the self-love component. Rather than becoming frustrated with her negative qualities, he comes to understand what created them. That’s how forgiveness ties into their bond.
Michael Waldron thinks the Loki and Sylvie relationship is about forgiveness
Giving Loki the ability to self-reflect puts the character on a journey toward redemption, something the MCU tried once before. However, Loki’s development in the films never truly holds the character accountable for his earlier actions. It also doesn’t apply to the Loki variant viewers follow in the show, who hasn’t been through the events of Thor Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War.
“I mean, he has done terrible things,” Waldron told Collider. “That was part of the work that the first episode had to do, was hold him accountable for that, sort of lay him bare and everything. And the journey that he’s been on has been one of reckoning with that. Is it possible to atone for that? I think Loki’s still trying to figure that out.”
According to Waldron, Loki and Sylvie getting to know one another plays a big part in determining that. By coming to understand why he acts the way he does, he begins to view himself more empathetically.
“But it’s one thing, I guess, to be narcissistic and to think you’re great and everything, it’s another thing to really believe that, to project that outwardly,” Waldron explained. “It’s another thing to really believe that and to actually practice self-love and everything. So if the show is about Loki falling for Sylvie a little bit, the hope was always that maybe that it’s also about him learning to forgive himself.”
What does this mean for Loki and Sylvie heading into the finale?
Whether the Loki and Sylvie relationship will survive the season finale remains to be seen, and whatever happens between them could define the character’s future in the MCU. Predictions that one of them will betray the other certainly align with Loki’s typical motivations. However, if Waldron’s interpretation proves correct, such deceit could completely alter the character’s redemption story.
On the one hand, a betrayal could convince Sylvie or Loki that change isn’t possible for them — cementing the notion that they must be a villain. On the other, having Loki get stabbed in the back by another Loki could prove an incentive for change. It would certainly put him in the shoes of all the people he’s betrayed in the past.
Viewers will learn how things play out when the Loki finale arrives on July 14, 2021. Until then, Waldron’s words give fans another facet of the character’s romantic connection to think about.